Don’t count her out
If there is a takeaway from the Alaska Republican Party State Central Committee’s endorsement of Kelly Tshibaka over incumbent Lisa Murkowski for U.S. Senate it is this:
If you are elected as a Republican, with Republican support, you should act like a Republican.
Eagle River’s Rep. Kelly Merrick is a case in point. Republicans from District 14, Eagle River, asked the Alaska GOP to withdraw its support of her because Merrick joined a Democratic majority in the House for a co-chair position on the House Finance Committee.
Murkowski has been under fire for years because of her middle-of-the road politics and willingness to work with Democrats on critical issues. Her criticism of then-President Donald Trump drew heated criticism as did her “present” vote during Senate confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Is the GOP’s endorsement of Tshibaka the death knell for Murkowski’s political future? Hardly. She lost the 2016 GOP primary election to Joe Miller, but then mounted an historic write-in campaign, defeating him in the general election.
If, in the end, Murkowski decides to run, Tshibaka – endorsed by Trump – will have her hands full. It will take more than droning on about “Alaska values” to unseat Murkowski, who appeals to the middle of the political spectrum and many on the Left.
Add to that, the state’s possible use of a new ranked-choice voting system barely approved by voters that could work to favor Murkowski. A lawsuit challenging that system is set for court today.
The next election should be interesting. When the chips are on the table, the question is whether Murkowski will fold her hand – or call and raise.